The Co-op says it could save almost 350 tonnes of plastic annually by switching all of its bottled water to 50 per cent recycled plastic.
The plastic – called rPET – is itself 100 per cent recyclable and sourced in the UK, and had a cloudier, greyer colour than standard clear plastic. As a result, Co-op says this will test the buying choices of ethical consumers.
"Suppliers are working hard to make the bottle clearer – in the meantime, our bottles will wear this greyish colour which I see as a 'badge of honour' – we are part of the market for recycled products, and we are proud of that," says Iain Ferguson, Co-op Environment Manager.
Ferguson adds that the retailer welcomes the government's proposed deposit return scheme for bottles and cans and is itself trying to increase the sustainability of its packaging.
"The Co-op is aiming to make 100 per cent of its own-brand packaging recyclable and set against this move, we can look forward to an increase in packaging sustainability and a reduction in plastic waste across the UK," he says.
All Co-op own-brand still, sparkling and flavoured water will be packaged in the new bottles from later this year. In addition, a donation of 3p for every litre sold of Co-op branded water is made to The One Foundation and 1p for every litre of branded water to Water Unite.